20 Money-Saving Travel Tips

Finance, Home & Family
on May 7, 2000
Media Bakery

Travel can be expensive, especially when you are talking about a whole family. But with a little time, creativity, and persistence, you can easily keep costs down. Here are some tips that might help:

  1. Be flexible about when you travel. Every destination has a peak and a non-peak season. Obviously non-peak is cheaper. This works great if you have pre-school children and can travel when you want to.
  2. Be adaptable about where you go. If you can pick and choose between destinations, you can land the most inexpensive one.
  3. Start saving early. Designate coupon savings or a portion of your paycheck each pay period for the trip. If your children are old enough, involve them in the clipping.
  4. When making lodging reservations, ask for the lowest rate available, and use every discount available corporate, senior, AAA, military, and AARP rates. It sometimes is cheaper to make reservations directly with the hotel, instead of the chains 800 number.
  5. At check-in, verify the rate. Make sure it still is the lowest possible rate.
  6. Consider staying in a hotel or motel on the outskirts of the city youre visiting. These places usually are cheaper.
  7. Travel with another couple or family. You can share child care and rent a place big enough for all of you to split rental and grocery costs.
  8. Stay in condominiums and eat most meals in.
  9. Take a cooler at all times for snacks along the way.
  10. Check out travel books from the library instead of buying them.
  11. Get coupons from the chamber of commerce or visitors bureau in your destinations to save big bucks on food, attractions, and events.
  12. Get coupons and information off the Internet.
  13. Shop for souvenirs at thrift and discount stores.
  14. Visit relatives (briefly; leave while youre still welcome). They can offer day trip ideas, and may provide some welcome home cooking. Bring a house gift, and be sure you leave their home better than you found it.
  15. Go by car if possible. Obviously, if there are many of you, this beats any airline price.
  16. Use pay telephones or your credit card if your hotel charges for direct dial calls from your room.
  17. Stay in hotels that offer a complimentary breakfast.
  18. Check if colleges and universities rent out dormitory rooms in non-school times. Not only can you get a cheap room, but you may get access to their laundry, pool and fitness facilities.
  19. Consider a trip to a state park. Rates are almost always reasonable and there is a lot to do, with lakes, tennis, swimming, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Many have cabins and of course camping is even cheaper.
  20. Take advantage of the concierge or other services available wherever you are staying. Ask them where to find the deals, where a good reasonable place to eat might be, and where to get coupons and discounts.